Six Qualities of a Filmaker

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                                                                                    Six Qualities a filmmaker:

A director is like a sailor’s compass, if the director is not correct your ship may land up on some Strange Island. That makes the role of a director very important because he guides and gives the team mates the   direction to reach the right destination.  He is the centre of the film process, he must inherit these qualities to be able to make the best film possible.

Passion:

You need to be very focused and passionate towards your work. There are times when you feel disappointed or may be things seems not going the way you want them to go ,but in that case your conviction and the force inside you motivates you and keep you moving forward.

Creativity:

As cinema is growing its audience is also growing with it. Every time a filmmaker makes a film people demands to watch something new. It’s a responsibility on a filmmaker to give something new, unwatched or maybe the same thing but with a different approach. So, a filmmaker needs to be very creative in making a film more interesting and unique.

Communication or management:

A film has many sections or departments and as a director you need to handle every department deeply and manage your time so that you can focus on everything. A proper communication is required with your cre , so that they can properly understand your vision and hence act accordingly to help you achieve it. Always make your crew feel very comfortable working with you and should open to all kind of suggestions from them.

 Patience:

This is the biggest tool of a filmmaker to remain calm and patient. Sometimes you find chaos on sets. May be the time is running and actors are not ready yet for the shot, maybe you cast a non actor and finding difficulty working with him because he is talking infinite takes and is unable to  deliver a simple dialogue or may be some end moment production requirement which you have not thought of before. There can be many unwanted situations, which arise while shooting and if you take stress of everything you find yourself yelling at everyone everywhere on your set. To save yourself from this type of situation you should do your pre production very well and let your associate handles all the issues arises. Remain in your creative zone and just focus on to achieve your vision.

 Clarity:

Being filmmaker clarity is also a very important part of your vision. Every person involved in the project wants clarity from their director. A director should be very clear what he wants in terms of Acting, Production design, Costume, Look of the film and everything else. The clearer you are the more you are able to achieve your vision.

 Vision:

Vision is what a filmmaker wants to achieve in the end of the film process. While writing or reading a script first time a director imagines the written content in his own way and sets a vision in terms of look, acting, music, cinematography and so on. That vision is the path on which the director takes his team as a leader to reach their destination. Clarity in the vision is very necessary as I mentioned above.

 

 

 

 

Christopher Nolan is Directing ‘Dunkirk’

 

Christopher Nolan has an extra ordinary sense of storytelling and that makes him stand in the list of few great directors of this time. He started his career in late 90s, in his career up to now he creates such an amazing piece of cinema that includes The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, The prestige, Interstellar and more. The type of movies he made in his career are mostly Si-fi, he is now going to make a different type of film that is based on a real historical event of World War II.

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I personally like Steven Spielberg’s way of making War based film, but equally enthralled for Nolan new endeavour, as he has a unique contemporary way of making a classic. Dunkirk will be released in 2017 and it’s based on the Operation dynamo which took place at the beginning of World War II, which saved the life of 330,000 British, French and Belgian Soldiers. Nolan is writing the screenplay and will produce with his wife Emma Thomas. Film will be shot on IMAX 65mm and 65mm. There is also a film called Dunkirk made in 1958 by Leslie Norman on the same operation.

Operation Dynamo is based after the name of the room in Dover cliffs where operation HQ was based. During the starting of World War II, in 1940 German armies trapped the British and French armies on the beaches around Dunkirk. Winston Churchill ordered to evacuate as many troop as possible back to Britain. The operation dynamo was formulated by Admiral Ramsay. Small boats were used to transfer troops from beaches to ship over the period of 8 to 9 day and with the help of 700 to 800 small boats they evacuated around 330,000 troops back to Britain.

The Film making Process (Part II)

film making process

Production:

Production is the phase where principle photography takes place, it’s the shooting part of the process, where you actually create and record visuals. This phase happens after everything is locked in terms of camera, lights, Location, Actors, Crew and other logistics in pre-production. After giving every one the Call Time in form of call sheet to come on set. Call sheet is generally made by 2nd assistant director for every day shoot. One must reach on time or before time on the location, sometimes being late can hamper your shoot. Here you will do the shoot on the basis of your script, storyboard, shot list and whatever discussed with your DP and production designer during the process of pre-production.

Reach the location before time and start thinking and planning the movements and positing of the actors. When all the equipment’s starts unloading, you take your Actors and DP and show them the Action with camera movements, also called Blocking. On the basis of the blocking (actor’s movements) now your DP starts to set up the lighting, meanwhile actors get ready with their costume and makeup.

Production already been done Day before or Days before depends on the scale of the set, if it’s a set construction or can be done on the day of the shoot if it’s just placing the props on the location. So, when actors are ready, lighting and camera is ready, production design is ready you can start the shooting.

While shooting, camera department measure the focus, Assistants directors give actor the marking of their movements. Then the Rehearsals of both actors and camera movement begin. When you are satisfied with the actors and camera movements you can go for a take. It’s important to have silence on the shoot so, there will be no noise on recording other than the dialogues. It’s better to take a few options of the shot that is taking place so that you can compare with a free mind on editing table.

A director is always in search of a perfect take, which satisfies him and he can call it an “ok” take. If you are not happy with a take let your actor know what more he can do to give the take you want. Look at the monitor and see is that what you want, something you visualized before or you want to do something to make it better.

The Script Supervisor will sit in front of the monitor and do the continuity. Sound mixer will do the recording and Boom operator will handle the mic. Acting plays an important role in conveying the emotions to the audience, one should concentrate in getting out the best performance from the actors so the audience can empathize.

While packing up after the shoot is over, make sure copy the shoot data in multiple drives for safety.

 Post Production:

A movie is made at three time in the process on script level, on shooting and on editing table. So, this process involves in making the movie for the third time. This process involves Editing, Sound Mixing, Music, Visual Effects (VFX), DI (color correction).

The editor lines up the footage shot in an editing software. You than sit with editor check each shot closely and tally with the continuity sheet for OK takes and NG (Not good) takes. Editing is the art of seamlessly joining the shots so that Audience can’t figure out the cut and also tends to make the Narrative interesting. So, you compare and reject all the bad takes and make the shots into a film by joining them as story demands.

Now the film goes to the sound department for leveling of sound, add Foley to it and other sound effects that are needed. Then add Background Music (BGM) to it.

If VFX is required, then after editing the shots (only shots which is in the final edit) goes to the VFX department so that they can create the required effects.

At last when Film is ready after VFX finally it goes to DI or in a simple way we say color correction.

In the end before going for distribution one should screen the movie to a group of audiences to check upon their feedback and response.

Distribution:

This is the process of releasing your film in theaters with the help of a middle man or a company called Distributor. The distributer watches the film, he also looks at the commercial value of your film in terms of director’s profile, cast and everything. It is a tough job to get a distributor for a film similarly it is tough to get a producer for your project.

There are lot of distributors in the market, range from big companies to independent distributor. Big distributors have a good reputation with the exhibitors (theatre owners) so they have the ability to release you film at big level in terms of No. of screens and shows. For an independent filmmaker if you don’t get a distributor don’t get upset, hope for the best and there are few other options like you can send it to film festivals.

If your film does good in film festivals and win some awards, then might some distributor or producer gets interested to release it. Other option is you can go with independent distributors but check their work profile before entrusting in them. You can also share your film to online services who gives your film to online viewership, which helps you generate some money online.

Hope this article might help you in getting the overview of filmmaking process.

 

 

 

The Film Making Process (Part I)

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A lot of people are passionate about films, perhaps they even want to make one. To be a film lover is not sufficient, you need to know the process that involves in making a film. If you want to make a short film or a full length feature film this article will help you to understand the task involved in Filmmaking. For better comprehension it is divided into FIVE STAGES.

  1. Development
  2. Pre-production
  3. Production
  4. Post production
  5. Distribution

Development:

It starts with an idea which can be a concept or a character, whatever suits you best. All you need to do is develop a story which you want to narrate. Write down your story in a single line which is called the logline or premise, keep in mind you should know the core of your story well. To make the concept or the core idea more lucid, write a synopsis as well. Do not take this stage lightly and don’t be in hurry to complete your story or script because it takes a lot of brain storming, time and patience to make an idea into a great story or Screenplay.

Lot of great writers suggest: Writing is re-writing.

The story should hold the reader interest in the same way as it interests you, as you need to arrange for the finances, on the basis of the script. It is unwise to search for the producer just after completing the story, it’s advisable to write down complete Screenplay of the film because if producer likes your story then he may ask for the screenplay as well. One should be prepared beforehand. Also make a Budget of your film, if you don’t know how to do budgeting then ask for help from someone who has already been through this procedure. If producer likes the script and your project seems profitable, then go ahead with Pre-Production.

Pre-Production:

Now if you are done with the final script it’s time to visualize it. Pre-production is the process where you do whatever preparation you can do to make your shooting or production process as easy and systematic as you can. This is the process where you assemble your team according to your vision and whatever script demands.

I think first thing you should do is breakdown your script called as script breakdown. Mostly production people do this. After breakdown you get to know exactly what are the locations, props, characters you require in the film.

As a director you have to start deciding the look and feel of your film. You can sit with your cinematographer aka DP or DOP and production designer. Also collect lot of references as close to your vision to get your DP and Production Designer on the same page and discuss the elements like colors palette, costume, mood and lighting you want to give your film.

Divide each scene into shots and make a shot breakdown list with DP, decide if you want a long shot, two shot, close ups and so on. It helps you to know how many shots are there in your scene and approximately how much time it takes to light up and in what order you want to shoot them. So, the next thing is casting and location recce.

When you are done with the shot breakdown you can also start Storyboarding which will help you analyze the complicated shot or action scenes in an easy manner. It totally depends on your choice you want to storyboard the scenes or the whole script. You can hire a storyboard artist for it or you can do it by yourself. There are a few free soft wares specially designed for story boarding you can check it out on google, if they can be of any help.

For Casting you can hire a casting director or you can hold an audition. Check what are your requirements for the Actors, what should be their age and how should they look like. Don’t compromise on their Acting skill and Age parameters. Finalize the cast and start rehearsals with them.

Locating scouting or Recce is another important part. Make a list of all the locations you want for your script. Hire a location manager to do this particular ask or if you don’t have that much budget do it yourself. There are few things you need to look while location scouting. First thing is how much space it has, can you place lights and tracks as per your requirements. If you shouting indoor see if the entrance is enough big to get big equipment in if you require. Check the electric supply how much load it can take. Check if there are any sound issues, also check the surroundings for noise issues.  Check how far is the nearest hospital and market in case of any urgency. Check the availability of the location and Do not forget to click pictures of it to compare later. Lock the locations.

After you lock the location, shot breakdown, assemble you team. Now it is time to do a Technical scout or Technical recce with the head of the departments like Director, DP, Production Designer, 1st AD and the line producer. This is done to plan each and every aspect of the scene on the location itself for example like the camera movements, lighting setup, look of the scene, production design elements. So, that your team can give you the final requirements of things you need to purchase or arrange. It is also important that your team should know the location I advance so, that they exactly know where to place what and it will help them to start planning their work. Your 1st AD takes a note of everything discussed during technical recce.

Now the final part is Scheduling of your shots. The 1st AD is responsible to do the scheduling, you hire a location for a day and you should utilize each and every minute of it. So, your scheduling will help you save a lot of time. It is re arranging of shots in order to shoot it. It’s the work of the1st AD to consider the time required to set up the desired lighting, camera movement and the axis for a particular shot.

I’ll cover production, post production and distribution in the next part of this article….